Category Archives: Music
by David Roberts
Back in 1927 when the world was black and white, less people knew who Hitler was, most people could remember Oscar Wilde dying and films were starting to gain traction as a popular art form. A standard had been realised and experimentation had begun both with plot and with cinematography. A German film maker called Fritz Lang had had so much success with Metropolis that he had been hand picked by Hitler to spear head his propaganda campaigns (which he declined while running away to France understandably). Metropolis is rumoured to be Hitlers favourite film, it could be of course because of the amount of control and the leader in this film had over the public. The lead actress, Brigitte Helm, didn’t like to be associated with the film, but when you’re Hitler’s favourite actress from about 1938 onwards you’ll probably not want to brag about that.
Fritz Lang decided to Metropolis and it was ground breaking achievement. Now it’s hard to understand why this film was so important if you watch it after the matrix for example or some more up to date reference, but I’ve been watching nothing but silent movies for the past month, so I was very excited to it as it is said to be the world’s first feature length sci-fi film.
Metropolis is based in a dystopian future, and within seconds of its first scene it has Orwell, Aushwitz and Bioshock plastered all over it which is odd since these things all happened a long time afterwards. The film, which I’ll get to, is only half the reason I was in the crescent art centre this evening. The main half is a man who has decided for whatever reason to write and arrange an incredible new soundtrack for the film. Coming in at approx 2 hours Dmytro Morykit brings the film to life in a haunting and engaging fashion. Despite sitting perfectly lit and only feet from the cinema screen Dmytro Morykit somehow blends into the background while still lifting you and leading you through the sinister Metropolis that gave the film its name. Many people have done versions of this including Adam and and Freddy Mercury and this relatively modest musician has written a beautiful work that sits comfortably amongst gods. If you are in the future reading this and Dmytro has become a multi billionaire and is now living in the moon I suggest you get the dvd and Spotify this one. Press play at the same time on both just like with the dark side of the moon and the wizard of Oz you crazy stoners. Assuming you can still get Spotify and it hasn’t been replaced by something else. Like your favourite albums being released in healthy gluten free food or something.
Despite the hiccups and technical difficulties at the beginning the first half of the film before the intermission was very interesting, really capturing the mood and somehow the feeling of the future through the eyes of people in the past. For me the Tango Tease is one of the best things that Dmytro did, and the particular night I saw him the second half, he was for want of a better phrase, on fire. Even now listening back to the music I enjoyed that night it is perfectly listenable and beautifully played but on the night I forgot where I was and was just floating on a cloud, and I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to watch a silent movie but most of them don’t as much grab your attention as they are a visual lullaby that was probably awesome at the time. A lot of the tracks are reimaginings of his own early compositions that have now found a home in Metropolis and some were freshly written for this project and it is incredible start to finish.
Dmytro is playing in the Waterside Theatre on the 20th January 2015 and then he is back to London.
SNOWY SHAW INKS EXCLUSIVE DEAL WITH MAILORDER GIANT !
Extraordinary news is coming today from Snowy Shaw ! He has just announced that he has signed an exclusive European deal with the biggest European mailorder company EMP for the sale of his LIVE DVD/CD double pack release “The Liveshow: 25 Years Of Madness In The Name Of Metal”.
Snowy Shaw about this exclusive deal : “We have just signed an exclusive deal with the mighty EMP, the biggest mailorder company in Europe by far. With my brand new Live DVD/CD Box we are the first band/artist ever to do so and I’d be lying to you if I’d say I didn’t feel a sense of “Fuck yeah!” as I like to think of myself as the breaker of rules and stinky old conventions. Then I learnt I was actually preceded by my former employer King Diamond and Mercyful Fate so you could say it runs in the family, but nevertheless in this day and age, it’s all about thinking out of the box. As a dissident misfit I always have been, so you can’t force me into that box, but you can now go ahead and order my brand new Live DVD/CD Box “The Liveshow: 25 Years Of Madness In The Name Of Metal”. – Happy Halloween!”
The Live DVD/CD has been released through Wunderwurld Music, Snowy’s new label/production company.
“The Liveshow” DVD/CD includes more than 3 hours of amazing, high quality material, recorded on two special theatrical shows, and featuring very special guests from KING DIAMOND,MERCYFUL FATE, MEMENTO MORI, ILLWILL, OPERA DIABOLICUS and Snowy’s backing band featuring lead guitarist Kristian Niemann (THERION), Mannequin De Sade III (NOTRE DAME, ENGEL), Mark U Black (DREAM EVIL) and Vikki Valkyrie (ICE AGE). “The Liveshow” has a one of a kind track listing, as except playing own originals, SNOWY SHAW performed with his band all his personal favorites from his former bands, incl. classics such as “Eye Of The Witch”, “Halloween” and “Sleepless Nights” (KING DIAMOND), “Evil” and “Black Funeral” (MERCYFUL FATE), “The Book Of Heavy Metal” (DREAM EVIL), “To Mega Therion” (THERION) or “The Serpentine Offering” (DIMMU BORGIR) and a helluva lot more, in a truly theatrical way.
The recordings took place during 2 live-shows :
May 27, 2011 – Brewhouse – Gothenburg – Sweden
Nov 3, 2012 – Sparbankshallen – Varberg – Sweden
Filmed by :
Patric Ullaeus Of Revolver Film Company and Rino Hemstad & Co.
Music mixed and mastered by :
Andy La Rocque & Snowy Shaw at Sonic Train Studios
Special Guests :
David Grimoire & Adrian De Crow (Opera Diabolicus)
Mary Ann Cotton
Track list DVD :
DVD ACT I
01. Dracula Sucks!
04. Book Of Heavy Metal
05. Black Funeral
07. Whether With Or Without
08. Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse
09. Seeds Of Hatred + drum solo
10. I Want You To Want Me.
DVD ACT II
01. Serpentine Offering
02. Blacksmith & Co
03. Man Or Mouse
04. Bouffon Bloody Bouffon
05. Eye Of The Witch
06. Sleepless Nights
08. Welcome Home
09. The Medley
· behind the scenes
Track list CD (different than the DVD):
01. Singh Hai
02. Come To The / Sabbat
03. The Fashionista
04. The Dimmu Medley
05. Unguentum Sabbati
06. Dusk + Le Theatre Du Vampire
07. The Book Of Heavy Metal
08. Typhon / Drum solo
09. Vlad The Impaler
10. To Mega Therion
11. Blood Countess Bathory
Follow SNOWY SHAW through these sites :
It’s not too often I get blown away by bands I’ve never heard of but I have happened to come across an sampler of Beyond Control by a band called Omega Crom that, to me, are a near perfect blend of German Power Metal and American Thrash from the eighties. I am instantly reminded of Primal Fear and Slayer if that makes more sense. I am fascinated with this album and it took all of twelve seconds before I was convinced by the opening track that I was going to love it. I’m verily fond of powerful falsetto and never completely comfortable with growly vocals but they have their place and they are used infrequently enough in this for me to appreciate it as a musical device. So here is my Track by Track review of Beyond Control (Sampler) by Omega Crom.
This track opens with a very Slayer inspired drum beat and guitar riff but what really got my attention was a bit of falsetto that gave me an instant aneurism, in a fantastic way. An aneurgasm maybe. An intro guitar solo which I personally miss from music nowadays that is not melodic at all but is functionally energetic and there is a certain amount of though behind it which leads us into a more death metal vocal bit were I’m trying to convince myself he is not singing about Memory Foam, they are comfy as shit so maybe he is. The chorus is suddenly perfectly placed and yet seemingly a different sub genre comes off like Stormwarrior or early Gamma Ray with a more melodic power metal style lead line behind it. Truly awesome, there is a small moment near the start where the song sounds a bit thin, the lyrics are a bit cheesy and could have used with more guitar in the background but the rest of the song and the vocals make up for anything else that could have happened. Really, the rest of the album could be farts and I’d still pay for it.
Fortunately it isn’t farts from here and Power Soul explodes into your ears like a Rust in Peace era Megadeth breakdown but overlaid with vocals that sound like Blind Guardian’s more recent work, really reminds me of Voice In The Dark actually. Structurally it’s stronger than Sundering Blades but it took me longer to get into, but now I actually think it’s my favourite on the album. Much more thought went into the guitar work on this one and it is simply a lot more fun to listen to, it changes direction suddenly and keeps you guessing but in a familiar way.
Yet again this intro has much of an eighties vibe over it and feels like trust from Megadeth’s Cryptic Writings album then out’ve nowhere what I assume is a female voice really beautifully confuses you into thinking you’ve got the wrong album in all of a sudden. It has a folk element to it that is haunting but also musical and fits in the context of the album perfectly well. It’s almost like a track from the worlds greatest heavy metal musical that I hope they write some day. Mercyful Fate all over both vocalists compliment each other brilliantly, and I initially got the feeling that I was being myself and liking things that other people were gonna tell me where awful, but everyone I let here this has just wept metal joyful tears, and though there was a risk of mercury poisoning we just cranked it up and I must say I am blown away and I am very excited about what Omega Crom are going to offer us in the future.
Blood Red Moon
This could be an Iron Maiden B-side easily, it has complexity and harmonies and all that stuff people like me love. Blasts of drums and complicated riffs then suddenly standard beats and power chords make this song sound almost like an Iron Maiden cover of a Mötley Crüe song, and I mean that in a good way. The chorus is fantastic which is fortunate because the verses are a wee bit lacking on this track. I can’t get behind the energy of them in the same way as I could with the previous tracks and sometimes the Maiden influence is too obvious to the point of bordering homage and plagiarism. If I wasn’t being picky about it though I’d just say this album is awesome go buy it and stop being a dick about it. To myself.
Land of Never Was
The album closer is a difficult one and I’ve noticed there are three ways of doing a decent album closer in the past. Either you do something slightly different. Do something exactly the same but better. Do something that is essentially everything you’re good at in one song, this is generally how we end up with closers that are about 15 minutes long. Land of Never Was is a damn good version of the latter , a long instrumental section followed by a great sing a long chorus is fantastic and it’s not boring for a second.
All in all I think this is one of the best albums by a relatively unknown band that is prefect for fans of King Diamond, Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian and Mercyful Fate. If I was going to say anything bad about it, I’d say that structurally a few of the songs could be tighter and more layering could improve the sound but ultimately it’s incredible and I’m very fond of it.
Snowy Shaw has been in an obscene amount of bands over the past 25 years at least one, if not more, have been your favourite band for a while. With such fantastic claims as King Diamond, Dream Evil, Therion and Dimmu Borgir under his belt he has a whole world of music he could choose from for a live album, which is why he has released a double DVD and CD box set of his 25th anniversary shows. Simply titles Snowy Shaw The Liveshow : 25 years of madness in the name of metal, it is a fantastic way to relive some of your favourite tracks from these bands.
If it was anyone else I think it would run the risk of sounding like ‘a tribute band to themselves’ rehash of old material but after even one watch/listen I can guarantee you will be making people who don’t care as much listen with you. I for one was grabbing member of other bands I know and forcing them to litem to Dream Evil’s ‘Book of Heavy Metal’ with the beautiful higher range falsetto addition. Other people I know where picking out Dimmu Borgir medleys or Therion tracks as we relived memories of festivals from the past, usually Wacken or 50,000 tonnes of metal, when we saw these bands.
The DVD opens with a vintage horror film montage with Bela Lugosi et al. Setting the mood as the proceedings are very strongly both fresh and nostalgic, even shot in a way that reminds me of old VHS live bootleg shows but with impeccable sound and fascinating performances. The best thing about the DVD for me the display of versatility Snowy Shaw has as a musician meaning that he can seamlessly segue from power metal to black metal and back without upsetting anyone. I came for the King Diamond, I stayed for the Dimmu Borgir and I discovered the Dream Evil. Overall if you like metal at all, or if you just used to, this box set will remind you why.
Weezer have just released a new album, or they are just about to release a new album depending on when you read this. The album Everything Will Be Alright In The End is, as far as I can gather, the album every Weezer fan has been waiting for. The band, have been releasing albums so bad and bland that you would’t even use them to torture a victim and this is because the band have been trying to stay relevant. EWBAITE is the least relevant, least up to date most fantastic attempt for a band to go back to their roots that I have ever heard. Just be yourself Weezer for god’s sake.
The album opens with a young girl telling her mother that she had another nightmare. I imagine she had been made to listen to any Weezer albums other than the first two in the dream. In some ways fans of the band probably felt like they were in a faustian trap, wishing for a new album to be released, which was granted and then every year they were left wishing the band would stop playing. This was confirmed when a kickstarter campaign was launched to raise ten million dollars to simply tell Weezer to go away and hide back in the 90s where they belonged.
The album seems to be about three distinct things, the first of which is apologising to the fans of the band for making such terrible music which is fair enough. I feel like they had thanked all the fans for buying their first albums by doing a wee poo in their ears every few years since. Some of these songs are so good I’ve listened to them more than I would have thought, considering that I have aged and no longer listen to this kind’ve music as often as I once did.
The other two themes are about relationships; one romantic and one paternal. Interestingly enough some of the songs that I love the most have been considered the weakest by others, so it’s showing signs of a successful album by being instantly controversial and that bodes well.
I don’t think the album is going to start any new movements in the music industry but more than anything it shows respect for their fans and that’s rare and important. The album reminds me of summers that went on forever, spending days just sitting on the grass with my friends and talking about music, and this is what the 90s were for me. Another thing the 90s was for me is Windows 95, which arrived packaged with a copy of ‘Buddy Holly’ by Weezer as a test video for Windows Media Player. So for those of us who used the internet before there was anything to do on it Weezer was a part of that, and I think they’ve achieved the sound they have been looking for.
Alestorm have gone and been brilliant and brought out a new album. After the difficult second album and difficult third album they have brought out the difficult fourth album that, to use an apt metaphor, blows the previous difficult albums out of the water.
Sunset on the Golden Age is the title of the new album and if you in an internet café in 2001 and you only have a minute left I would use it by going on to Amazon and pre-ordering this album immediately. It is one of my favourite albums of the year along with Sabaton’s newly released ‘Heroes’. I defy you to listen to it more than once without commandeering a watercraft and laying siege to your nearest country, or at least taking your shirt off and ransacking your nearest Spar.
One thing that is instantly obvious is that the band has matured…is matured the right word? Refined their childlike fun in a more commercial but very creative and entertaining way is more what I mean. There is a lot more experimenting with sounds and styles, and a whole world of personality in it, and simply put the album feels like a group of people having loads of fun singing abut pirates and playing some high quality heavy metal. Which is exactly what you want. Well… it’s exactly what I want. The hardest thing for Alestorm, in theory, is the trick of keeping the music fresh without boring peoples tits off with the whole ‘Pirate’ theme, while at the same time keeping the album full of pirate themes without sacrificing the music. I say in theory because they don’t actually seem to be struggling at all, it’s almost as if they are enjoying themselves or have been given some magic rum cocktails to improve their musical ability.
Walk The Plank opens the album signifying a triumphant return as these musical pirates prepare to lay siege to your earballs. I like to imagine Alestorm having commandeered a ship with a small orchestra being forced to add an elegance to their shanty’s at the wrong end of a blunderbuss.
Drink is a very straight forward song, but has a chorus that is designed to be sung by hundreds of thousands of people very loudly, very drunkly and around the time of the night between drinking and quaffing just as the beer and rum starts getting spilled more often. It was an obvious choice for a single, it deserves more praise than it’s getting and it causes the whole album to pick up pace, a bit like the red shoes you would get as Sonic the Hedgehog.
Magnetic North a more mid tempo track that is fantastically arranged. Sprinkled with some really growly vocals and a much more gentle folk tone make this song one of the songs that will be a strong favourite for a lot of people at some point. The main melody conjures up nautical imagery very easily and is definitely a more serious track.
1741 (The Battle of Cartagena) is one of my favourite tracks, which in true ‘favourite track’ fashion was one of my least favourite for about the first two listens and now is the most played track on my phone. This song gets better every time I listen to it and has one of those choruses designed for singing along with. Particularly live and very drunk. Which could easily be an Alestorm live album title. It opens with a video game-esqe rendition of the main theme and proceeds at a steady pace inspiring me with the feelings of solidarity and desire to conquer countries normally only associated with the best of Manowar. Which Manowar seem to have sadly left behind them, I may look to Alestorm for the music I listen to before I sack a city from now on. Some really interesting stuff going on with the growly vocals, something I’m not particularly fond of but is peppered in here as well as could be imagined, which will cause other Pirate metal fans out there to quiver with delight.
Surf Squid Warfare reminds me instantly of ‘Ghouls Gone Wild’ from Alice Cooper’s Welcome 2 My Nightmare album, but without as much of a silliness. The song is essentially a sequel to the title track of their last album Back Through Time. Keeping with tone but having an edge to it this song is full of thuddy bass lines, and much more engaging guitar lead lines, the drums are so full of energy if you listen to it while walking you’ll instantly start running. Filled with sci-fi, zombie-squid and Back To The Future references lyrically it’s fascinating and is placed in the album in a way to regain your attention in the album, becoming the musical equivalent of a beautiful woman saying ‘Hey…are you listening to me?’ while you were accidentally staring at her boobs.
Mead From Hell is probably my least favourite and if I’d finished writing this review the day that I started it, probably would’ve had a much more negative slant to it, but it has grown on me, very suddenly when I was in Tesco. The lyrics are brilliant, but the music is a little lacklustre. Slightly more progressive in the vein of very early Helloween and with a great chorus, but at the moment, it just doesn’t feel as important to the album as the rest of the tracks. But that’s what track 6 is for.
Quest for Ships, definitely one of the funnier songs on the album capturing the well known plight of all reckless pirates when they suddenly find themselves having no ships, and though this is more to do with me than Alestorm, I have found myself singing a variation of this song when I’m on a quest for chips. Perfect for those days when you want to energetically try to get a ship.
Wooden Leg opens with a steady bass intro, leading me into a false sense of security until it become an almost punk like assault and feels like a chase sequence from a film all about a poor man who keeps getting his bits lobbed off from different people around the world until he ends up more tree than man. It contains my favourite line in the whole album and the musical break in the middle is a proper chanty-shanty. Definitely a mosh-maker.
Hangover is a cover of Penelope or Tom or Taio Cruz song and I did not know this until I had a look at the track list. It is one of those songs that is so well arranged that you would assume it to be a slightly surreal but perfectly acceptable Alestorm song, and I love their covers, just like Blind Guardian it’s always a nice addition and the rap in the middle sounds amazing and is really well adapted.
Sunset on the Golden Age is the title track and is the answer to the question ‘What is the title track?’ as well as this albums answer to Death Throes of the Terror Squid. It’s brilliantly paced, and is one of the more conceptual tracks. The brass section in the bridge becomes a truly uplifting and exciting part of the song, like that song that made you feel like that at a nostalgic time in your life. Remember? I’m sure there was one. Wether it was cymbal in Rust in Peace or the middle eight in Dr.Jones by Aqua, you know what I’m talking about. Worth the price of the album in my opinion and perfectly placed. It feels like a big thank you to the fans as well as a ‘If you think this is all we’ve got…you have another drink coming’.
It’s an outstanding album and despite the fact that I’m ‘supposed’ to be listening to Dragonforce for the next month I haven’t been able to shift this one from my playlist. It really feels to me like the start of a new era of Alestorm, it doesn’t feel like they’ve peaked but it certainly feels like they have improved exponentially since the last album.